A Few Thoughts On John Lehman's State Senate Win

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wherein Racine County voters reminded us into the wee hours of the morning after the election that character and personal histories count:

Pundits and conservative talk radio hosts are puzzling over the defeat in Racine of incumbent Republican State Sen. Van Wanggaard by - - horrors - - a Democrat, John Lehman.

A few thoughts.

Lehman had held the seat, but lost it to Wanggaard in 2010 when conservatives and Tea Partiers won big nationally, and in Wisconsin.

But in addition to his city and state elected service, Lehman had been a respected school teacher, and despite their demonization by the Right, teachers are liked by most parents, many of whom had favorite teachers when they were kids, too.

Lehman is known as a smart and committed guy with a reservoir of good will that gave the lie to the Republicans' 'teachers-are-the-problem' talking point.

And don't forget this April episode during the campaign in which Wanggard came off looking pretty bad: I can't imagine Lehman having done the same thing.
The mystery of the 'missing' Monday debate invitation that Citizen Action of Wisconsin sent to Racine debate no-show State Sen. Van Wanggaard, (R), has been solved.

No, a homework eating pooch was not involved.

Good dog.

At first, Wanggaard's staffer said forcefully and definitively to the Racine Journal Times that no such invitation had been received:

Wanggaard’s Chief of Staff Scott Kelly, contacted on Monday, denied the lawmaker ever received an invitation.

“I heard that they said Van was invited — that is a lie,” Kelly wrote in a text message. “You can quote me on that. We were not invited.”
But after the group produced a postal service receipt for the invitation's delivery, Kelly and Wanggaard remembered something different, but still had a fresh insult for the group.
Looking for the letter on Tuesday, Kelly said the senator eventually found it among some papers that were in his car. Kelly said that upon finding the letter, Wanggaard told him that he did remember getting something from Citizen Action of Wisconsin.

“He remembers having received a letter from a liberal interest group, and having dealt with it accordingly,” Kelly said.

When asked what “dealt with it accordingly” meant, Kelly repeated his quote. Asked if the senator ever opened the letter he said, “He didn’t tell me whether he opened it.”
All of which adds meaning to the headline the paper ran over a Wanggaard op-ed the previous weekend:

Next session, Wanggaard’s focus will remain the same

More aboutA Few Thoughts On John Lehman's State Senate Win

250,000 Reasons Why Walker 2.0 Wants Dems Help On Jobs

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Even the officially unverified jobs' number Walker released and spun a few days before the election shows he'll need all the help he can muster to get remotely close to the 250,000 new private sector jobs he pledged as the centerpiece of his 2010 campaign.

That helps explain this Journal Sentinel story and headline about bipartisanship on jobs today: Walker tells staff to focus on jobs, bipartisanship
Madison - A day after becoming the country's first governor to win a recall election, a triumphant Scott Walker told his cabinet Wednesday to put their energy into creating jobs and said he was taking steps to improve bipartisanship.

"We're going to spend the remainder of this term focused like a laser beam on creating jobs," he said to the cabinet.
But haven't I seen that thought and promise in story and headline form before - - like after last year's Senate recall elections?

There it is, on August 10, 2011:  Walker says he'll focus on bipartisanship, jobs

Madison - Gov. Scott Walker called for mending the jagged edges of a deeply divided state Wednesday, pledging a renewed focus on bipartisanship and jobs in the wake of Senate recall elections as he dismissed Democrats' talk of recalling him in 2012.

Walker said the results of the Senate recalls, in which his party held that house but lost two senators, vindicated his focus on jobs and the state budget but also showed that voters want their leaders to work more cooperatively.

More about250,000 Reasons Why Walker 2.0 Wants Dems Help On Jobs

Dom Noth At The Labor Press Offers A Fine Election Analysis

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Nicely-done by Dom Noth:
But here’s what came through clearly. A statewide recall -- never popular on either side – was the reluctance hardest to overcome for Barrett, who didn’t even enter the contest (he had a mayoral race to win first) until the voters had decided they would oppose the recall he was leading. The exit polls suggest they had decided before he could possibly have mounted evidence about Walker’s policies, job numbers and other much publicized claims. The main thing the money game accomplished was to prevent any contrary messaging to charge through, knock decided heads together and change minds.
More aboutDom Noth At The Labor Press Offers A Fine Election Analysis